BSI Journal - Online Archive


A non-profit corporation whose purpose is to promote and maintain public and scientific interest and research in bromeliads throughout the world.

There are 4 classes of membership: Annual $7.50; Sustaining $12.50; Fellowship $20.00; and Life $150.00. All memberships start with January of the current year.

Address all correspondence to:
The Bromeliad Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 3279
Santa Monica, Calif. 90403
PresidentElmer J. Lorenz, Calif.
1st V.P.Leonard Kent, M.D., Calif.
2nd V.P.W. R. Paylen, Calif.
Rec. Secy.Jeanne Woodbury, Calif.
Corres. Secy.Kathy Dorr, Calif.
Treas.Kelsey Williams, Calif.


1973-1976: Robert G. Burstrom, Leonard Kent, Eric Knobloch, Elmer Lorenz, Patrick Mitchell, Edward McWilliams, Harold W. Wiedman, Kelsey Williams.

1974-1977: Eloise Beach, Kathy Dorr, George Kalmbacher, Fritz Kubisch, W. R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Robert Read, Edgar Smith.

1975-1978: Jeanne Woodbury, George Anderson, Charles Wiley, Ervin Wurthmann, Victoria Padilla, Wilbur Wood, Thelma O'Reilly, David H. Benzing.


Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; David Barry, Jr., USA; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Mulford B. Foster, USA; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; Dr. W. Rauh, Germany; Raulino Reitz, Brazil; Walter Richter, Germany; L. B. Smith, USA; R. G. Wilson, Costa Rica; J. Marnier-Lapostolle, France.


Published six times a year: January, March, May, July, September, November. Free to members.

Editor: Victoria Padilla
Asst. Editor: Kathy Dorr


From the President
  Elmer J. Lorenz163
The Twenty-Fifth Birthday Party
  Kathy Dorr165
A Salute to Mulford Foster
  Eloise Beach173
A Garden in Australia
  Joy L. Pritchard174
Collecting Variegated Bromeliads
  Chester Skotak178
Our Curious Plants
  Bernard Stonor180
Germination of Bromeliad Seeds
  Martin Tall184
What Bromeliad Does Not Produce Offshoots?
  David Barry, Jr.186
Tillandsia complanata187
News of the Affiliates188
Imitation Bromeliads
  Racine Foster190
In the Mail Bag191
The Bromeliaceae of Jamaica
  George Kalmbacher192
Bromeliad Closeups
  Jeanne Woodbury200


Aechmea recurvata var. ortgiesii × A. recurvata var. recurvata

Photo by Joe Geierman and donated by the Orange County Bromeliad Society

Articles and photographs are earnestly solicited. Length is no factor. Please mail copy and all questions to the editor, 647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, California 90049.

No material from this Journal may be reprinted without permission of the Editor.

Individual copies of the Journal, $1.50



It is always the hope of an incoming president of any organization that his administration will continue to grow and prosper with the new regime.

Our past president, Mr. William Paylen, is to be commended for the excellent service and administration of the Bromeliad Society for the past several years. Bill has been a faithful and tireless worker for the organization. I know that I will personally be counting on his experience and knowledge during my term of office. Again, many thanks, Bill, for a job well done.

Upon completion of the Society's first year of activity, Frank Overton wrote, "The Bromeliad Society has now passed its first birthday, and, as we review the past year's accomplishments, we can be pardoned a glow of pride in the thought that with nothing but an idea for a start, we now have a functioning, growing society, international in scope, with an impressive list of members which is still growing, six issues of an excellent bi-monthly bulletin with articles by renowned authorities on bromeliad culture, with more to come, and a good fund of ideas and plans for further expansion. With such a record of accomplishment for one year's effort, it requires no strain on the imagination to picture what we can accomplish in the future."* Twenty-five years later the same hopes and ambitions continue. The Bromeliad Society has grown from a Round Robin of thirteen members to an organization of over 2,300 members. This is rapid growth for a plant organization when it is realized that bromeliads were almost unknown horticulturally twenty-five years ago and are now very popular and well known indoor and outdoor members of the plant kingdom.

The most important link in the Bromeliad Society is the Journal. This publication keeps everyone informed—those living in a large metropolitan area where there are dozens of other members or in a part of the world where the nearest bromeliad enthusiast is 500 miles away. The Journal is vital to the progress of the Society. It is hoped that members will have enough interest and take the time to write articles of experiences in culture, collecting, enjoyment of the plants, displaying, their successes or failures, and why, etc. There are probably a number of people experiencing some problems under the same conditions as yours, and they would benefit from your writing. The Society and Journal will grow only with your help. Whether you are a beginning amateur, advanced horticulturist, botanist or taxonomist, let the members of the Society hear from you through the pages of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society.

A disturbing element is the confusion of nomenclature in the plant world. In order to help diminish this confusion it is hoped that all new named hybrids and clones will be registered with the Society. Registration forms are available. This will maintain permanent records for future reference.

The Bromeliad Society is your organization, not just the members of the Board, and its continued growth and progress are dependent upon your support, enthusiasm and active participation.

Elmer J. Lorenz


*The Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 1 163

At the meeting of the Board of Directors on May 20, 1975 the following officers were elected to serve for a two-year term: Elmer J. Lorenz, President; Leonard Kent, First Vice-President; W. R. Paylen, Second Vice-President; Kelsey Williams, Treasurer; Kathy Dorr, Corresponding Secretary; Jeanne Woodbury, Recording Secretary. Mr. Paylen will act as assistant to the President and Hospitality Chairman.

Mr. Lorenz is a well-known horticulturist in the southern California region. He has been widely active in many plant societies and was the president of the Southern California Horticultural Institute. He is a Founding Member of the Bromeliad Society and has served on the Board for a number of years. His garden is one of the showplaces in the area. A knowledgeable and articulate man, pleasant at all times and possessed of a charming wife, Mr. Lorenz will be an asset to the Society in his new capacity.

ALL MEMBERS Please Note:

Enclosed with this issue is a membership renewal envelope for the year starting January 1976. Please slip your check into the envelope at once so you will not forget—this will enable us to avoid the end-of-the-year rush. A bigger and better Journal is planned for 1976 with a number of new items which we are sure you will like. There will be a special regional section, helpful articles for the beginner, descriptions of new species and hybrids, accounts of explorations, up-to-date growing techniques, etc.

There is a possibility that we may have to raise our membership rate, so send in your renewal now to avoid this increase.



(Editor's Note: Mrs. Dorr was in complete charge of this event, making all the decisions, appointing all her helpers, and setting up the program. We thank her most sincerely for putting on a beautiful display.)


The celebration has come and gone! It will be long remembered. 6:30 A.M. Friday, the 6th of June, found the Show Chairman and helpers attacking chairs to clear the display area for action. By 9:30 orderly chaos was the name of the game. The elevator was busy delivering trucks and vans to the mezzanine, where the show was to be held, and many willing helpers aided in unloading and distributing the material to the proper locations with a minimum of collisions.

By 1:00 P.M., it really began to look as though there would be a bromeliad show to fill the large area. Many lovely cycads, palms, ferns, orchids, and begonias acted as backdrops for the magnificent collection of bromeliads in the displays. The competition tables were beginning to be filled with everyone's "hopeful winner," and displays were filling up. Three thousand plants had been rushed through the area to the sales tables.

When the Social Hour arrived, some of the displays were already completed. By midnight, we were cleaning up and putting everything in order. Saturday, 2:00 A.M. found the Show Chairman in her backyard with a flashlight for just "a few more plants: to fill a corner here and there." The beautiful watercolors from the Philadelphia Bromeliphiles were in place at 2:30 A.M., and the place was turned over to the night guard until 8:00 A.M.

The judges and clerks started arriving for the 9:15 coffee (which arrived at 9:00) and received their instructions. Judging started at nine, the seminars started at nine, and the buses left at nine. We were off to a busy weekend. One bus had been planned for the tour; by Friday we knew we would need two, and on Saturday we desperately shouted for the third. More than 160 people enjoyed touring the gardens of Bill Paylen, Victoria Padilla, Jack Roth, and "Frenchy" Delago. An improvised lunch trip included a tour of the famed Sunset Boulevard and some of the homes of the movie stars.

There was "standing room only" at the seminars. Lee Kavalijian presided. John and Mary Bleck spoke on "The Succulent Bromeliads," Ervin Wurthman spoke on "Hybrid Bromeliads," Dr. Robert Read spoke on "In the Field with Hohenbergias," and David Benzing spoke on "Bromeliad Trichomes and Their Significance in Bromeliad Evolution, Ecology, and Nutrition."

Past President W.R. Paylen & Elmer Jr. Lorenz, newly elected President

At the Show — Central display evoked a California theme

At the Show — Part of Long Beach display

Show Chairman Kathy Dorr and her able assistant Husband Mark Dorr

Judging was finished by 11:30 A.M. Special Award Winners were

Best in Show - Aechmea 'Black Panther' - Chet Emory

Best in Artistic Division - Art Mann

Best in Pitcairnioideae - Dyckia fosteriana - Jeanne Woodbury

Best in Tillandsioideae - Vriesea glutinosa - Aria Rutledge

Best in Bromelioideae - Quesnelia 'Dart' - Sharlene Peterson

Best Society Display - South Bay Bromeliad Associates

The Guild of Texas could not send live plants, but did the next best thing and brought some beautiful photographs of bromeliads. Sue Gardner displayed her drawings. Sue also made the drawing that was used on the Special Awards.

I would also like to mention the outstanding display of pictures concerning Mulford Foster that was brought all the way from Florida and displayed by Eloise Beach.

There were so many people waiting to see the show that we had to open at 11:40, and the judges and clerks left to attend their luncheon. The afternoon passed quickly with a large attendance at the display.

The Social Hour found everyone congregated in the area of the champagne punch, then on to the Valley View room for dinner. Three hundred were present. If one more had arrived, the Show Chairman would have been delegated to the kitchen. It was a little crowded, but everyone enjoyed the evening. Past President Bill Paylen introduced the guests. Our new President, Elmer Lorenz, gave us the history of the Society in a delightfully amusing talk. The President of the Bromeliad Guild, William Kirker, presented the Special Awards, as well as Life Memberships to all Founding Members and to Past President Charles Wiley. A Life Membership and a special plaque were given to Bill Paylen and a Special Award of Appreciation was given to Victoria Padilla. Edgar Smith, from Dallas, Texas, took charge of the drawing for door prizes.

Dr. H. W. Wiedman then took us on a trip to many places via slides. We visited the Wilsons in Costa Rica, went to Brazil, New York, Louisiana, and Florida and saw many beautiful bromeliads.

The Show was again opened for those who had attended the dinner. Most of the guests received either a Tillandsia streptophylla or T. xerographica as a gift from Kurt Meyer of Guatemala. Seedlings were provided by Mr. and Mrs. Don Wendland at each place setting.

  (All photos by Al Woodbury)
Left - part of the Leonard Kent display Tillandsia streptophylla

The President with two members from Down Under,
Mrs. G.M. Goode from Australia and Harry Martin from New Zealand.

Florence and Sig Sussman in award winning display put on by the South Bay Bromeliad Associates.
Mr. Sussman is the president of the greater New York Bromeliad Society.

Garden tour to the home of Victoria Padilla

Visitors, Mrs. Sue Gardner, Texas, and Mrs. Bea Hansen, Mrs. Joyce Hiller,
and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Martin from New Zealand.

Sunday, 9:00 A.M. started with the Affiliate President's meeting. There was a good attendance and much was accomplished. Two buses took off for the Nursery Tour of Kent's Bromeliads, Fuchsia Land, and Velco Importers. The Bromeliad Culture Session began in the Orange Room at 10:00 A.M. The room was filled to capacity. Mrs. Bea Hanson, Mrs. Sue Gardener, Mr. George Anderson, Mr. Robert Burstrom, and Mr. Herbert Plever were on the panel with Bill Paylen presiding.

The Show opened at 10 on Sunday, and again there was a large attendance. At the end of the day, there was not a plant left on the sales table despite the fact we had had three more deliveries since the initial amount. There were a lot of tired but happy people.

At 6:00 P.M. sharp, the breakdown began, and this time the caravan of plants and accessories was going in the opposite direction. Everything was going well until the elevator broke down. Somehow we managed and by 9:00 P.M. the only way anyone would have known there had been a show was the mess that we had to leave behind.

As Show Chairman I want to say "Thank you" to all who came and to all who helped. You made this show a success!

There is a variety of Ae. weilbachii called leodiensis. There is likely no glossary that gives the meaning of leodiensis, and it took a little research on my part to find out what it means. But, first of all, it may be useful to keep in mind the fact that the endings ensis, ense are used in Latin to make an adjective out of geographical or place names. This particular variety appeared in cultivation in Belgium for the first time, and was not of American origin, apparently. In Revue Horticole, 1887, published in Paris, Edouard Andre writes about it and assigns the variety name lodiensis to it. He named it "en souvenir de la ville de Liege, ou elle a d'bord ete introduite et cultivee." Thus he named it for the city of Liege, Belgium, where it was introduced and cultivated. In this case he was using the old name the Romans used for the ancient settlement where Liege now stands. Leodiensis means, in, of, or from Liege, Belgium.

George Kalmbacher, Brooklyn, New York



During the month of February two memorable events spotlighting Mulford B. Foster, the dean of bromeliad culture in this country, took place in his home town of Orlando, Florida.

Florida Technological University dedicated a month-long exhibit in honor of Mulford Foster and the plants he did so much to publicize—bromeliads. With assistance from the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida, Dorothy Kannon, Exhibit Coordinator, and other members of the F.T.U. Graphics Department were able to create a fascinating introduction to this extraordinary man. The exhibit included a display of paintings by Mr. Foster, a collection of his many writings, and 94 color photographs documenting various bromeliads and showing the grounds of the Fosters' beautiful Orlando home, Bromel-La. Living bromeliads were placed throughout the display, and colorful placards provided interesting background information about the bromeliad family and Mr. Foster's many accomplishments.

The second noteworthy event occurred at a special ceremony held at Florida Technological University on February 9. At that time the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida presented Mr. Foster with a specially designed, hand-lettered Resolution in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the bromeliad world. The presentation came as a complete surprise to Mr. Foster, who will celebrate his 87th birthday on December 25. The art work was generously donated by the F.T.U. Graphics Department.

The people of Central Florida are proud to have honored such a remarkable bromeliad pioneer. Certainly as the Resolution states, the name of Mulford B. Foster, as a Founder, Director, Student of Bromeliaceae, Discoverer, Author, Artist, Photographer, Hybridizer, Expert, and Teacher, will be associated with bromeliads for countless generations the world over.

The Society issues a membership roster every two years. With Issue No. 6, members will receive the roster for 1975-1976. The listing was made up as of August 1, 1975, so that any changes that occur after that date will not be shown. Members are again reminded to get their change of address in to the Society at least six weeks before date of issuance of next journal. The Society cannot be responsible for those copies sent to wrong addresses.



Some of Joy Pritchard's bromeliads.

Part of the garden showing conditions under which bromeliads grow.

In the May-June Journal of 1974 appeared an article about my garden written by George Kalmbacher, which he entitled "Bromeliads under the Tea Trees." Now, in June, 1975, I feel I should follow up with a tour of the garden as it is today.

Bromeliads are becoming more and more popular in this part of the world, as people begin to realize that you do not have to have a heated glass house to grow these docile beauties from the tropics and are, in fact, quite amazed to find them growing happily as garden plants here in Sorrento. Of course bromeliads grow lusher and minus, any markings under controlled conditions, but when a little thought is given to their needs, they are quite happy outdoors and provide a delightfully different garden. A little research to find the different growing conditions of the various species provides pleasant relaxation on days when weather conditions prevent outdoor work and pays dividends when put into practice.

Bromeliads in a garden in Sorrento, Australia

All photos courtesy of Your Garden magazine

My method has been from the beginning of my garden plan to wait until I had an offset growing strongly, then choose a comfortable place in the garden for the mother plant, thinking to myself, "Now would I be happy there if I were that plant?" I can truthfully say I have never lost a plant under these conditions; poor old mother plant may look "ratty" for a time, but each offset grows stronger and seems more colorful than the last.

The billbergias and aechmeas occupy the more exposed parts of the garden, sheltered by small shrubs and native trees. Aechmea nudicaulis has really taken over and is a lovely sight when in flower high in the trees. Aechmea fasciata seems equally happy in a tree, pot, or planted in the garden and never fails to attract attention when in flower. The beautiful "Neos" and "Nids" like the cosy spots at the base of the trees or planted on logs and provide delightful splashes of color among the ferns, chlorophytums, and ivies, with philodendrons and cordylines providing both background height and shelter for the lower level plants. Just coming into flower in the garden now is Aechmea pectinata, looking for all the world like a growing tennis ball; about half of the foliage is already the most beautiful bright pink, truly a lovely sight.

Also flowering for me for the first time is Portea petropolitana var. extensa. It has taken a long time to flower, but is surely worth waiting for. Our garden has been allowed to remain as natural as possible. To me, there seems little sense in choosing to live in a country seaside region, then turning it into a "town" garden. Leaves, sticks and trimmings from plants that have to be cut back are allowed to fall to the ground, thus providing in time a carpet of mulch, which helps retain the moisture in our sandy soil in the summer months. The garden is full of birds, so I have no need to spray to control wogs. I rarely use artificial fertilizers; a little foliar feeding on the plants grown under cover is all I ever do when I want to hurry a particular plant along.

Maybe this does not sound so wonderful to people who live where these lovely plants grow like weeds, but take a look on the world globe and see just how far south Sorrento is....The broms are really a long way from home.

Sorrento, Victoria, Australia



Aechmea orlandiana var. 'Ensign' in the author's greenhouse

About two years ago I became fascinated with bromeliads. I can't say that I was cautious in deciding what would be the first purchases I would make, for I chose Aechmea lueddemanniana 'Mend' and Aechmea ornata var. nationalis, both variegated varieties and very expensive. I was so intrigued by the variegation in certain bromeliads that I decided to devote my greenhouse space to these interesting plants. After an initial purchase of about twenty different kinds of variegated bromeliads, I was well on my way to one of the most expensive hobbies I ever got involved in.

I grow my bromeliads in a 18 × 22-foot, lean-to greenhouse. Unfortunately, when building this structure I forgot to include any cooling pads. I don't care what anybody says—bromeliads do burn up in this beautiful Texas sun. A plant can be burned in just the short period it takes to fry an egg, so to speak.

I use a balanced fertilizer of Peter's 18-18-18 about once a week, and although I was told it would cause the variegation to turn a pale green, I have noticed no ill effects. If anything, I have had just the opposite effect, which has been especially noticeable in Aechmea orlandiana 'Ensign', the variegated forms of A. lueddemanniana, and Vriesea fosteriana 'Red Chestnut.'

I grow all my bromeliads in full sun with the exception of the variegated guzmanias and vrieseas. My potting medium consists of a mixture of osmunda fiber, redwood chips, and leaf mulch, which is all run through a mulcher. This medium provides good drainage, as well as retaining some moisture.

Some of the variegated bromeliads I have are quite rare and unusual. I have a Neoregelia marmorata variegata, which came as a sport after many generations of the regular green form. Although this plant took many years to bring it to its present refinement, I feel it is a perfectly balanced variegated bromeliad now and can be improved no further.

The only tillandsias I have are T. viridiflora variegata, which can be purchased in Mexico, and T. lucida variegata. Although this plant has flowered I do not have much hope of its producing offsets, as it is a shy pupper. Tillandsias are especially slow to produce offsets for me, and sometimes they will not be variegated, as is the case with T. viridiflora variegata.

I use a special method of producing pups on my plants which has turned out to be successful. As the basal leaves die back after the plant has bloomed and the pups are taken off, I pile the mix around the base, always leaving the fresh leaves at base level. This seems to cause the plant to throw more pups and also to stay healthier. I also pull the flower spike off before it has bloomed to encourage more pups.

As time goes on, it seems as though more and more variegated bromeliads are appearing on the market, and it is difficult to keep up with them. Some of the most striking are Aechmea fulgens var. discolor albo-marginata, a brilliantly colored plant with dark purple underleaves; Nidularium rutilans variegata; and Neoregelia marmorata variegata.

Every collection should have some variegated bromeliads. However, I feel a word of caution is necessary. There are many different clones of variegated bromeliads, and what you think you are buying may just be a poor, washed-out green variegation. If you send away for a plant, request either a leaf sample or a picture.

Houston, Texas



One cannot help feeling sorry for people who, for one reason or another, do not grow bromeliads. With such a wide variety of types to choose from, there must surely be a plant to suit every gardener, yet it is astonishing what a variety of excuses are put forward for not growing these fascinating, if sometimes exasperating, plants. The unique manner of their growth and often unexpected behavior are of as much interest to many of us as their beauty of form and color. One is constantly finding some unexpected and even inexplicable feature in even the most common species.

In their native land, we read of the plants being found in the most unexpected places: on rocks, trees, along the seashore, clinging to cliff faces, everywhere, in fact, except where any normal plant might be expected to grow. Portea petropolitana var. extensa is flowering here for the first time, a fine showy inflorescence too, but who would have thought that this plant chooses to make its home on mangrove roots, of all places. The spike, as a whole, is very colorful but the petals of each flower are quite small and hardly bright in color. The flowers appear to open during the evening, so it would seem that some nocturnal insect would be the pollinating agent. Crawling over mangrove roots can be hard work, to say the least, in daylight, so I would prefer to leave the investigation of this point to some one else.

Another autumn flowering species which opens its flowers mostly at night is that curious plant Pitcairnia mirabilis var. tucumana. This must be one of our most adaptable plants, at least as far as climate is concerned, growing and maintaining its healthy appearance in extreme heat, up to 108°F. here this summer, or continual cold, wet conditions. My plant flowered again this summer, a 5-foot, 6-inch spike with its large, light green flowers. There was one interesting difference this time. For some reason the plant produced one flower half way up the scape in the axil of one of the scape bracts with another 9 bracts above it before the normal inflorescence commenced. This flower was deformed, there being two normal sepals and one rudimentary one. There were five petals, only two of which were normal. Two were small and deformed and one was half petal and half sepal. It seems likely that this flower has set seed, which should ripen about six months after the plant flowered. I wonder whether this seed will produce normal seedlings? If seed does form in the quantity usual in this species, there should be enough to supply everyone interested in trying some.

  Photos by author
Pitcairnia mirabilis var. tucumana growing in the author's garden in Western Australia

Variation in leaf color is another prominent feature of our plants, surely unmatched by any other family. How do the plants turn the central part of their leaves such a brilliant red when they are about to flower? Perhaps some botanist or chemist can provide the details of this process, but it does seem a remarkable feat on the part of any species. Some bromeliads color up fast; others take their time—there is always something to watch. One neoregelia hybrid turned pale yellow in the center when the flowers appeared, then gradually became a nice deep pink color.

Changes in leaf color due to varying climatic conditions can also be interesting to observe. A plant of Aechmea ornata, growing in the open, became quite yellow during our recent very hot dry summer, then quickly reverted to its normal green when cooler weather prevailed. In the case of plants growing here, it is quite usual for species with red foliage to revert to a more green color during hot, dry spells, assuming their red coloring once more during the cold winter. This applies particularly to billbergias. Dyckias, on the other hand, assume a far richer coloring during hot weather. Plants which originate in a warm climate often become yellow in winter, especially when grown outside, turning their normal green shade once more when warmer weather arrives.

Different growing conditions can produce some remarkable changes in the appearance of plants, many of which clearly appreciate the freedom of growing outside planted in the ground, instead of being confined to a pot. While many bromeliads grow as epiphytes, it should not be forgotten that they will also grow as terrestrials and many often form better plants when treated in this manner. One variety which has proved itself to be an excellent garden plant is Billbergia 'Fantasia', which grows and flowers very well in a sheltered spot. Another promising subject is Billbergia amoena var. viridis, which is forming a robust plant in a rockery, with broader leaves than those produced in the glasshouse, the plant also being open rather than tubular.

There must be nearly as many methods of growing plants from seed as there are growers; most of us have our own composts and methods. A strange and seemingly suicidal method of raising tillandsia seed is being tried here. A small plastic dish is half filled with some organic compost, then topped up with a suitable fine fiber. In my case, fiber from the center of one of our native Blackboys, a species of Xanthorrhea, is best, cut into half-inch lengths. No drainage holes are provided, a little free water being kept in the bottom of the dish. The seed is spread lightly over the surface of the fiber and the container is then covered with a clear plastic bag, with a fair amount of air space above the surface. The seed is thus kept permanently wet and surprisingly is making satisfactory growth. Little attention is needed, just the addition of more water occasionally. The seed can safely be kept on its own for a week or more. In hot weather more moisture condenses inside the plastic, keeping the compost wetter than it is in cooler conditions.

Even the commonest of plants can be full of surprises; there is always something new to learn about them. The ordinary pineapple, for instance, Ananas comosus, is capable of unexpected behavior. For years I have grown pineapples from the tuft on the top of the fruit, without being able to coax the plants into producing offsets in the normal way. The last plant grown received V.I.P. treatment in the hope of obtaining an offset after the fruit had been removed (and eaten). I was not sure where the offset would appear, so was rather surprised to find it emerging alongside the scape of the old inflorescence, where it is growing strongly. The plant, in fact, has produced a new top. This feature has been noted before; one rooted top rotted in the center and finally recovered, producing new growth to replace the one lost. Another pineapple was seen recently with two separate tufts on top—quite an enterprising plant.

Mention has been made in The Journal of a puzzling defect in some plants—a few leaves die back, while leaves above and below remain healthy. A few plants have shown this symptom in my collection during the past few years, and I have believed it to be due to some fault in the culture. This summer has been unusually hot, but there has been none of this trouble at all. I think this may be due to a change in treatment; no fertilizer has been applied to the foliage, only to the compost, and of necessity well water has been used instead of rain water. It is natural to expect rain water to be more suitable than water dug up from the ground, but I can say for certain that well water has been far superior to rain water this season for bromeliads, orchids, and other plants as well. Possibly the galvanized iron tanks in which the water is stored may add undesirable quantities of iron, etc., to the water. Whatever the reason, all my plants will in the future receive water from the well.

Margaret River, Western Australia


It has been noted that flowers do not always appear on the inflorescences of this species, and among the speculations on the phenomenon is that, somehow, high humidity is needed for normal blossoming. I believe that this is indeed the crucial factor, and for a very simple reason. When touched, the inflorescence is found to contain a slightly sticky fluid (as suggested by the species name); in a dry environment this may evaporate to the extent of cementing together the bracts so the flowers can't issue.

Roger K. Taylor, Winter Garden, Florida



More and more people in the United States and other countries are becoming interested in growing plants of the pineapple family, the bromeliads. Some of these growers want to know how to grow these plants from seed. The following is the method I have employed for several years, with fair success.

One essential is to obtain seed that is as fresh as possible and then to sow it as soon as it arrives, no matter what time of the year it is. One source of fresh seed in the Bromeliad Society, whose present seed fund chairman is Mrs. James R. Rutledge, 2112 West Carol Drive, Fullerton, California 92633.

The next step is to get a sowing mix that will not encourage the growth of mold. I find the peat pellets sold by various dealers are very convenient. I soak these pellets in a soup bowl for fifteen minutes until they are fully expanded, then I place each in a two inch plastic pot, for protection. I lay the seeds on the top of the pellet, then I put the pots in a plastic tray, which has holes for drainage and then put this tray on a bottom tray to catch any drips. Then I place the whole tray of twelve pots inside a grocery bag of polyethylene plastic, leaving one end partly open. The tray is then put in a place under fluorescent lamps where the temperature is about 70°F during the day and about 65°F at night. There is plenty of fresh air available, especially at night, when a window is open all year round. Daily inspection follows until germination is over. I keep the seedlings in the original container for six months. Early transplanting is dangerous.

Now for details of an actual planting. Six packets of bromeliad seeds were sown, as directed above, on December 23, 1974. Fifteen seedlings of Billbergia porteana came up by January 1, 1975. Seventeen seedlings of Neoregelia marmorata came up by January 10. Twenty plants of Aechmea recurvata, variety ortgiesii, came up by January 10. Two Vriesea hieroglyphica came up by January 10, as did one Aechmea miniata, variety discolor. As yet, no seed of Aechmea nudicaulis has germinated (by January 16th).

Tillandsia seed is especially difficult to germinate by ordinary methods. However, I have three seedlings of Tillandsia cyanea that were grown by this method and were sown January 3, 1974.

Some nurserymen and amateurs have invented special methods for some genera of bromeliads. Walter Richter's advice on seed germination has been translated by Mrs. Adda Abendroth of Brazil in several issues of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society. One rather comprehensive discussion is on pages 138-141 of the November-December issue of 1968 (Vol. XVIII, No. 6).

Tillandsias get special attention in the May-June, 1970 issue (Vol. XX, No. 3) where Richter advocates the use of rain water. He summarizes his advice and differentiates bromeliads into Tillandsioideae (Vrieseas, Guzmanias, Tillandsias), which produce seeds with hairs; Bromelioideae (Aechmeas, Billbergias, Neoregelias, etc.), which produce seeds in juicy berries; and Pitcairnioideae (Pitcairnias, Dyckias, Hechtias), which are terrestrials.

Arla Rutledge of California gives a simple method of germination on pages 159-160, in the November-December issue of the cited Journal (Vol. XXII, No. 6).

Dr. Richard Oeser presents a very attractive method of raising bromeliad seeds on slabs of haapu (Hawaiian fernwood). This article is on pages 11-12 of the January-February 1970 issue (Vol. XX, No. 1).

Dr. Oeser also advocates growing Tillandsias on pine or Thuja branches, having removed the needles; this advice is in the January-February, 1966 issue (Vol. XVI, No. 1).

There is another article on Tillandsia seeding by Richter (July-August, 1969, Vol. XIX, No. 4) in which he tells of sphagnum moss as a growing medium.

Two amateurs describe easy methods on pages 14 and 15, January-February, 1965 (Vol. XV, No. 1).

Dr. Richter sums up the subject and gives special help in regard to Tillandsia culture in the issue of March-April, 1970 (Vol. XX, No. 2).

If you follow any of the methods advocated by these writers and if you obtain fresh seed, you should attain considerable success in raising bromeliads from seed. I have done so.

Woodhaven, New York

Mr. W. Vilders, Sr., 18106 Hamburg, Detroit, Michigan 48205, is eager to get a bromeliad study group formed in his area and asks that any member who is interested in exchanging offshoots, ideas, etc., get in touch with him. He has been highly successful in growing bromeliads and bringing them to flower in his home, so that he has much to offer the novice who must grow his plants in the confines of his home.

What Bromeliad Does Not Produce Offshoots?


T. complanata with 7 offshoots

Certain bromeliads are said not to produce offshoots. Examples are Tillandsia dasyliriifolia and T. lucida. Yet at times these plants have been known to produce offshoots.

One bromeliad that seems to be a most eligible candidate for nomination as a plant that never produces offshoots is T. complanata. This failure can be excused, as it were, by the plant's unusual trait of putting out simultaneously from the axils of the lower eight or ten basal leaves single flower spikes, like fine stiff wires, subtended by a small flat imbricated flower scape. In theory, these spikes take the place of spikes that might have emerged from the center of the rosette of leaves of mature offshoots if the plant produced offshoots, a neat theory that falls flat when a plant is found that does produce offshoots in a normal manner. The plant in this photograph has seven offshoots. Companion plants of the same size imported from Ecuador at the same time and grown under similar conditions have no offshoots. Why?

Another bromeliad trait in offshooting that needs to be explained is the habit of plants like Vriesea imperialis and V. regina to produce very small plantlets in profusion at a certain stage in the developmental growth of a plant, and then to cease producing offshoots for its remaining life. Such small offshoots or plantlets are loosely attached to such an extent that they may be detached from the parent by hand and a little pulling.

We may assume that giant terrestrial bromeliads with tremendous seed crops, such as Puya raimondii, never produce offshoots. Who can say? There are chemicals to force plants into flower. How about one to force a plant to produce offshoots?

West Los Angeles, California


Tillandsia complanata

This charming and highly variable tillandsia may be found growing in the West Indies, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Peru, where it is epiphytic in both forests and meadows from 3,000 to 11,000 feet. Its leaves, always soft and succulent, vary from 6 to 12 inches in length and in color from plain green to deep bronze, streaked or spotted. What makes this species unusual is that it bears many very thin lateral inflorescences which may be semierect or pendant. This species is not supposed to bear offsets, but one plant in David Barry's greenhouse produced seven.


Part of the display of the Bromeliad Society of Greater Chicago, Inc.

The newest bromeliad society to be granted a charter as an affiliate is the Bromeliad Society of Greater Chicago, Inc. This group was initiated by James J. Doheny, 3625 McCormick Avenue, Brookfield, Illinois 60513, now acting as secretary. Interested persons may get in touch with him as to time and place of meetings and other activities. Besides presenting interesting programs, this fledgling society is already attempting to interest others in bromeliads. Its first public display was at the Chicago Flower Show this spring.

Another new affiliate—the Long Beach-Lakewood Bromeliad Study group—is also doing its bit introducing bromeliads to the public. This energetic society introduced bromeliads to almost 14,000 people in three days at the Hobby Show which is held yearly in Long Beach, California. It was allotted an area about 10 by 12 feet on which plants were put on tables and artistically arranged with other tropical plants. Descriptive brochures were handed out by the enthusiastic members who worked on three-hour shifts manning the booths.

The Bromeliad Society of Central Florida, another of the new affiliates, was invited to participate in the Central Florida Orchid Society's spring show in Winter Park and created one of the most popular displays in the show. One of the highlights was a waterfall trickling from a large driftwood piece into a feather rock pool. The educational display featured a wide variety of labeled bromeliads, which included such rarities as Aechmea ornata var. nationalis and Guzmania zahnii var. variegata. Next to the display, the Society held a sale of bromeliads which were donated by the members. Response to the sale was overwhelming, and proceeds from the sale made a significant addition to the treasury.

The spring show of the Greater New Orleans Bromeliad Society held in May was a great success with over 800 individual entries. There is no area in the United States where interest in bromeliads is growing so rapidly as in this part of Louisiana. The Bromeliad Societies of the Greater New Orleans Area are planning to hold a World Conference June 3-5, 1977, the theme being "New Orleans, Bromeliads, and all that Jazz." Members are urged to reserve this date as New Orleans is famous for being the home of hospitality.

Because this year, 1975, marks the Bromeliad Society's 25th birthday, two affiliates gave the Society a gift in the form of colored illustrations. The front cover of this issue is a gift of the Orange County Bromeliad Society of California, and the back cover was donated by the Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles, which is the first of the affiliates.

It is hoped that more affiliates will keep us advised of their activities so that these may be written up for the Journal.




At first glance you may think these are real plants, but they are not. These are duplicated models for exhibition purposes in the Hall of Plant Families, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois.

Tillandsia fasiculata var. densispica from Florida, is uncannily real. It is mounted on a small tree in a natural habitat setting.

The pineapple also is unbelievably real. How can they reproduce these complex plants so accurately? The details are perfectly reproduced defying detection that man has made them!

For the many thousands of city dwellers who have no greenhouse, no backyard and have had no trips to the wilds, these models serve as a substitute in plant-life experience.

We are indebted to the chairman of the Department of Exhibitions, Mr. Lothar P. Witteborg, for kindly sending these photos for the Journal.

Racine Foster


Since 1966 my husband and I have been very happy residents of Florida, and since 1971 I have been a member of the Bromeliad Society and my husband a member of the Palm Society. Both organizations have added to our appreciation of the beauty of Florida and have truly put the "icing on the cake" of retirement. Collecting and caring for palms and broms has been a delightful obsession for us. But more than this, these two societies have opened doors for us and led us to acquaintanceships with interesting and knowledgeable people whom we might never have met had we followed the usual retirement trails of bridge, golf, fishing, etc.

Our location, just four miles south of Melbourne, along the Indian River, is also just a short distance from Florida Institute of Technology. The beautiful Palm Gardens and "Dent Smith Trail" are a part of this lovely campus, and we have spent many happy hours wandering along the trails enjoying the palms and broms.

It has not been too easy to make contacts with Bromeliad Society members. The 1973 Roster did provide some clues, as did the ads in the Journal. Then came the organization of the Central Florida Society, and a few more doors opened. It is still not easy because it is a 75-mile drive to the meetings in Winter Park which are held at night during the week. But at least a contact is available.

The main purpose of this letter, however, is to comment on the generosity of knowledgeable members of the Bromeliad Society whom we have met. We have found they are always willing, to give their time and pass on cultural information to amateur collectors with kindergarten status insofar as bromeliads are concerned. A Society Journal, the Wilson or Padilla book tucked under your arm is an "open sesame" for information at Alberts and Merkel in Boynton Beach. No question is too insignificant; a full and complete answer is freely given. Just to see A. lueddemanniana marginata 'Mend' right after it was pictured in the Journal was pure delight.

Mr. Wurthman of Tampa is a walking encyclopedia on the growing of bromeliads. The perfection of the hundreds of plants he showed us was sufficient to convince me that everything he told me should be imprinted in my bromeliad bible. From the 1973 roster I also found the address of a member just about 20 miles north of us. When I finally located her I was truly amazed at the number of beautiful broms and orchids in the small area around her trailer home which is enhanced by towering pine trees. Even more than the spectacular display perhaps was being made aware of the lady's love of plants, her wholesome philosophy, and her generosity in sharing her knowledge of broms.

So I have found the Bromeliad Society has more to offer than just information on broms. It offers keys to doorways that lead to new friendships, heart-warming ways of life and philosophies, and retirement interests extraordinaire! When T. fasciculata flaunts it gorgeous red spike and clings to the pines and oaks in great masses along some of our country roads, I am grateful to the Journal because it taught me the name of this outstanding plant, and I know I can proudly claim it as a Florida native tillandsia. We have our delights and our difficulties with broms and would enjoy sharing both with the members. Mrs. Lucile B. McMichael, 873 S. E. Floresta Drive, Palm Bay, Florida 32905.



To many of us collectors who are deeply involved in bromeliads it is good news to learn that there is now a comprehensive treatment of the bromeliads native to the Island of Jamaica, West Indies. In the book FLOWERING PLANTS OF JAMAICA by C. D. Adams, published in 1972, there is a valuable synopsis of the Bromeliaceae with keys and much useful information. This part of the work, pages 41-53, is handled by Bob Read of the Smithsonian, and George R. Proctor, botanist of the Institute of Jamaica.

The keys to the nine genera are broken down into species and varieties. The flora is rich in hohenbergias (15 species) and tillandsias (26 species). Of vrieseas there are 8; guzmanias and catopsis, each 4. Some are endemic (not found elsewhere) such as the single aechmea (A. paniculigera), and the three varieties of pitcairnias. The density of hohenbergia species makes Jamaica second only to Brazil in proliferation after establishment of original species.

The species and varieties are treated in some detail in individual paragraphs with brief descriptions. To these paragraphs may be added the information in the keys heading the genera that is not included in the description. Locations are given, sometimes very specific, at other times more general, also the altitudes where natively found, the habitat, as well the range outside Jamaica…..The authority names are given with the location in the original publication, and the date.

To give an example of an entry:

Tillandsia pruinosa Sw. Fl. Ind. Occ. 1 594 (1797). Inner leaves closely enfolding base of inflorescence, leaf-blades usually longer than inflorescence usually simple, subsessile in upper leaves, floral bracts pink at anthesis, soon becoming green, corolla purplish-blue.

Frequent but often solitary epiphyte, commonest in west-central interior areas; 250-2900 ft.; flowering sporadically all the year. Mexico to northern South America and Brazil, Cuba, Hispaniola.

FLOWERING PLANTS OF JAMAICA may be obtained from Horticultural Books, Inc. P. O. Box 107, Stuart, Florida 33494. Price, $16.00 plus 40 cents mailing charge. It has 856 pages, is 6 in. by 9, cloth binding.

Some of the country's largest central public libraries and botanical institutions offer duplicating-machine copies for books they have in reference rooms for a quarter or less a page. Enquiry of some convenient such source will provide terms. If one is interested in only bromeliads, copies of pages 41 to 53 of FLOWERING PLANTS OF JAMAICA instead of possession of the whole book would appear to present a sensible alternative, if one wants the information available.

Jeanne Woodbury

Above— Aechmea tillandsioides




Right— Tillandsia fasciculata

Left— Vriesea 'Polonia'

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